Saturday 3 April 2010

Ordered a new gadget: Three pay-as-you-go MiFi


It's actually quite simple.  I have an iPhone, a notebook, and will (almost) certainly buy an iPad as soon as they are available in the UK.  I currently get mobile Internet on the iPhone, but on nothing else.  I want a way to get mobile Internet on my notebook, and, when I have it, my iPad.

I can use tethering on my iPhone for the notebook, but I resent the idea of paying an extra £10/month to O2 when my contract says "unlimited" anyway (if there was a pay-as-you-go tethering option I'd be sorely tempted just for simplicities sake).  Besides, it was confirmed recently that the iPad will not tether with an iPhone, so to get mobile Internet on that device I'd still need a (more expensive) 3G version and a second mobile account.  That'd mean:

  • £35/month for my iPhone, plus

  • £10/month for iPhone tethering, plus

  • whatever the iPad connectivity will cost per month, plus

  • a one-off of whatever the UK equivalent of Apple's $130 more for the iPad 3G version

I could get a (free/cheap) 3G USB dongle for my laptop, but that'd still mean having to get a 3G iPad and then I'd end up with three mobile accounts (four if you count my company mobile).  That seems a little excessive to me.

Alternatively, by getting the MiFi I'll pay:

  • £35/month for my iPhone, plus

  • £10 (for 1Gb), £15 (3Gb), or £25 (7Gb), plus

  • a one-off of £49.99 for the MiFi

So with the MiFi it is much cheaper (assuming I don't use the mobile Internet excessively on iPad or notebook) and there is no additional monthly contract.  I know the minimum term with O2 tethering is just 30 days, but you still need to remember to call up and turn it off and on.  However, if I connect the Internet with the MiFi and have no pre-pay credit left I can still access the Three top-up website - this is much simpler.

Looking at my iPhone 3G data usage I doubt I will even get close to 1Gb a month on the iPad and my notebook mobile Internet will only be occasional (another prime reason I don't want a contract), so the MiFi should definitely work out considerably cheaper.

This still leaves me with three mobile accounts (including my company phone) which is still ridiculous.  But, until we live in a fair and sensible world (by that I mean one where O2 isn't ripping off their (unlimited data) iPhone customers with their tethering charges, and Apple produces mobile devices that interwork with each other in an obvious way), it's the best combination I can find.

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